Edited on 26/04/2022

A great initiative was put in place by the Council of the Carlow County in February this year: two surveys to gather the public’s view on the future vision for the County’s Community Garden and Allotment Policy. In fact, the surveys will be used as part of the Foreword for the aforementioned Policy that is currently under development.

Why launching these surveys? The Carlow ULG members considered very useful to reach out to a wider audience besides the ULG for the development of such an important policy for the County, hence they designed the surveys which were then disseminated by the Council through the Local Enterprise website (We want your input- Community Garden projects seeks publics view on future vision for Counties Community Gardens and Allotments. - Local Enterprise Office - Carlow),  social networks and local press (Publics view wanted on future vision for community gardens and allotments in Carlow - Carlow Live and Carlow Nationalist — Carlow garden lovers to have their say on community gardens and allotments ( ).

Councillor Fintan Phelan, Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council and member of the steering group for the project, said “We look forward to hearing the publics views and inputs into this strategic piece of work for the County and I’d encourage all to participate whether you are a visitor to our many gardens or a green finger enthusiast who wants to play an active part in one of the many community groups in County Carlow who run community garden projects”.

The survey “Are you interested in Community Gardens and Allotments?” was addressed to gardening enthusiasts and 36 people participated in the survey. Following are some relevant results: the majority are full-time employed, they strongly agree that community gardens support mental and physical development, they believe that citizens are little to no aware of the availability of gardening activities in County Carlow, the majority of participants see as direct benefits of community gardens the possibility to obtain advice and expert opinion from other communities as well as the access to a larger community through social networks. Food and environmental sustainability are at the basis of the activities in a community garden: a space to grow healthy food, where people connect with nature, where children can go with their parents, where people get together and engage in social activities, where people learn new skills. The majority of participants declared that the involvement of teenagers in community gardening activities can help reduce antisocial behavior and increase their creativity.

The survey “Can you tell us about your County Carlow Garden Experience and expectations?” was addressed to garden visitors and 72 people participated in the survey. Following are some relevant results: the majority visit community gardens whenever they have spare time and they do so with family members, they visit community gardens to spend time outdoors, learn new ideas on gardening to complete their own gardens and to spend quality time with family and friends. Most of them obtain information non County Carlow community gardens through social media, websites and from word of mouth. With regards to services and features to be considered when developing a new community garden, interesting results emerged: a biodiversity/wild flower element in the garden, more facilities for adults and elderly people such as benches and open spaces to walk and picnic, a café and shopping facilities and a bird sanctuary.

A great example of citizens’ participation and engagement, congratulations Carlow!

Submitted by Patricia Hernandez on 26/04/2022
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Patricia Hernandez

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